Members Area

The Garden Club of America and the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowships

 Previous   Next 

Category: International Work & Study

 Tell me more

The Garden Club of America and the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowships


As Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted in the US and the UK, we are watching to see how changes will impact our Interchange Fellowship program. We are optimistic that the application process for 2022 will go forward this coming fall. Please monitor this website for further updates.

Purpose: To foster British-American relations through the interchange of scholars in horticulture, landscape architecture, and related fields and to promote the exchange of information in the horticulture field.

History: In 1948 the Hillsborough Garden Club in California proposed the idea of fostering British American relations through an exchange of scholars in horticulture, landscape architecture and related fields by supporting a British Exchange student for a year in America. In 1950 the English Speaking Union offered a reciprocal fellowship for an American Student to study in Britain, and by 1952 The Garden Club of America voted to make the Interchange Fellowship a permanent project. Financial sponsorship in the UK has been provided by various institutions, including the McLaren Family and the American Scholar was once known as the Martin McLaren Scholar. Now the fellowship is sponsored and administered by the Royal Horticultural Society, and the scholar is known as the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellow.

The Interchange Fellowships are a reciprocal exchange program, sponsored by The Garden Club of America in the US, in coordination with Longwood Gardens, and the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK. More than 100 students have participated in the Interchange Fellowship Program, and many have gone on to hold prominent positions in public garden management, horticulture, education, and landscape architecture. The opportunities available to the fellows are unique in the horticulture field, and the network of past Fellows is a lasting legacy.

Read about the Fellowship's first 50 years in the article Exchange across the Pond


  • The Interchange Fellowship provides for a 10 month course of study in the United Kingdom. The RHS will attempt to work with the chosen fellow to set up a program which, to the extent possible, will be uniquely tailored to match the fellow’s interest, career goals and aspirations. The intention is to give the fellow as rich and as broad an experience as possible. Due to stringent visa requirements, the program must be fully planned prior to the arrival in the UK. Fellows undertake multiple placements. The following is a list of organizations which past Fellows have attended: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Wakehurst Place (Seed Conservation), part of RBGK; Jodrell Laboratory (Chemical Ecology Sustainable Uses of Plants Group), part of RBGK; University of Reading (School of Biological Science); Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; Eden Project; RHS Gardens: Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor; Tresco Abbey Gardens (on the Isles of Scilly). In addition to these placements, it may be possible for the RHS Interchange Fellow to undertake a week of work experience at Winfield House, US Embassy, and to be involved in the annual world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, both based in London.
  • The RHS Interchange Fellowship reimburses up to 12,000 GBP for the costs of transportation, housing, food and personal expenses for one American student to spend ten months working and studying at leading horticultural centers or historic and botanic gardens in the UK, gaining valuable exposure to British horticultural techniques and developing contacts with the wealth of experience that the RHS has established with British horticulture.
  • The GCA pays for a round trip ticket to the UK, for the visa applications, and provides additional $6,000 for personal expenses.
  • The GCA Interchange Fellowship provides up to US 36,500.00 for a British recipient to participate in a program in horticulture, landscape architecture, and environmental studies at Longwood Gardens in the US. Financial support for the program is shared among Longwood Gardens, The Garden Club of America, and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Eligibility: The RHS Interchange Fellowship is open to a single, unaccompanied American college graduate who has earned a BA or BS degree in horticulture, landscape architecture, or a related degree. Selected finalists are required to attend an interview in New York and will be notified of the time and place.

The GCA Interchange Fellowship is open to a British university graduate with a degree in horticulture, landscape architecture, botany, or environmental studies, or to a British student horticulturist with a recognized horticultural qualification.


  • The American student arranges an individualized plan of study with The Royal Horticultural Society. Generally the ten months are divided up into monthly units at different gardens or horticultural centers, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Wisely and Edinburgh, gardens of the National Trust, the Eden Project, or the gardens of the American Embassy in London. Helping with an installation at the Chelsea Flower Show may be arranged. There is ample opportunity to visit gardens throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Fellows are asked to write a short report in January followed by a full report at the end of the year, including pictures. After returning to the US, they are often invited to speak at GCA meetings to help publicize to GCA members across the country.
  • Fellows will provide seasonal blog entries highlighting their placements, activities, and travels while in the UK and will meet and deliver a presentation to the RHS Bursaries Committee. Read "Feedback from the Fellows" here.
  • Fellows agree to attend suitable conferences/talks/presentations/shows, and will visit as many cultural and horticultural places of interest as possible. Fellows will also meet up with former Interchange Fellows for social/cultural outings, as far as reasonably practical.
  • Upon their return to the US, fellows will use their best efforts to be available to speak at GCA club and/or regional meetings if requested to do so.

The above expectations are for the purpose of enhancing the educational experience of the Interchange Fellowship and the cross-cultural components of the program. The required blog is for the purpose of educating the public about the work and experiences of the Interchange Fellowship.

To Apply:


Selection: Selection and administration is by the GCA Scholarship Committee in the United States and by The Royal Horticultural Society in London.

Fund: The Interchange Fellowship Fund is managed by the GCA. 

Contact: The Garden Club of America, attn: Scholarship Applications, 14 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022-1006. Phone: 212-753-8287 / email:


 See Recipients

 Tell me more

See All Scholarships

Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2021, over $300,000 were awarded to 61 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Twitter for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through the Garden Club of America scholars. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships.